CPD23 Thing 7: Face-to-face networks

Bethan’s Thing 7 blogpost

In terms of career development, this is the area I think I need to work on most. I’ve never been good at approaching people I don’t know – I’d be the one loitering by the tea/biscuits/wine waiting for someone to take pity on me. But I decided when I started Chartership last year – really when I started to take my career seriously – that I needed to expand my professional network, and improve my networking skills in the process.

Most of my professional networking is done online, but face-to-face offers something lacking in online contact – a chance to engage in natural conversation, to talk without other distractions. I feel like I know someone better once I’ve met them in person.

There isn’t a lot of career progression available in my role – we’re such a small department that there isn’t a ‘ladder’ as such – so I need to look outside for ways of furthering my career.

So which professional organisations have I been involved with so far?


When I joined the Guardian as a researcher nine years ago the department was heavily involved in AUKML (the Association of UK Media Librarians), and automatically paid membership. I attended social events, AGMs and the conference in London (funding wasn’t available to send me to the residential conferences elsewhere). I also wrote for the quarterly newsletter Deadline.

Unfortunately the sector has shrunk over the past decade, and the decision was made to fold a couple of years ago. Another reason to expand my professional horizons.


I’ve been a member for just over a year, and I’m working towards Chartership. A couple of weeks ago I attended the Umbrella conference in Hatfield (which I will blog about when I find my notes!). I’ve written a couple of articles for CILIP Update too, and I’d like to write more.

I went along to Cilip in London‘s tie-in event for Thing 7, and as well as enjoying the free wine I made some really good connections – people I follow online but hadn’t met, people I knew but hadn’t touched base with in a while, and some people I’d never met before. My online community has expanded as a result, meaning the connections I made will continue.

The talks and discussions were interesting (and not just the ones about wedding dresses!) – more to write up when I find that notebook! I would definitely consider getting involved in a committee, but I don’t think now is the time for me. I’m already juggling babies and work, and I know being a committee member would benefit my Chartership but I’m not sure I would find time to write my portfolio if I got involved! I barley have time to keep up with CPD23 – did I mention this post was late?

SLA Europe

I’m not a member, yet, but I’ve been to several SLA events (and we’re the reigning champions of the Winter Warmer quiz). I’m considering joining now that my company pays for professional membership of CILIP.


I went to my first LIKE event last week, a guided walk which was purely social – I skipped the tour of the Guardian! – but still afforded a chance to chat to other professionals. I might get a bit more involved with the next event.

To do:

  • Join SLA Europe?
  • Follow up on contacts I made at Cilip in London event
  • Get involved with LIKE?
  • Chase up suggestion for Update article

Networking: LIKE guided walk

Statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras Station

John Betjeman

Last Thursday I went to my first LIKE event, a guided walk of King’s Cross which took in the Midland Grand Hotel, St Pancras and King’s Cross stations, the German Gymnasium and St Pancras Old Churchyard.

King’s Cross has always been my gateway to the city and I’ve explored parts of it – what a shame we didn’t see the Hardy tree in the churchyard up close – but it was great to take the time to stop and look around, and learn a bit more about the area. I’d never adventured upstairs in St Pancras station to see the sculptures, or noticed the Stanley Building tenements next to the Gymnasium.

Dinner at Canal 125 after was delish, I met some lovely people and I may have agreed to help out at the next event (I blame the wine…).